Saturday, April 30, 2011

Heart & Sole 5 Miler Recap (Take 2)

Goal:  
5 Mile Race faster than last year (29:52) and to win $500

Actual:
3 miles warmup
5 Miles in 29:30 with splits of 5:50, 5:39, 6:16, 6:05, 5:37 to tie with Meagan Nedlo
~2-ish miles cool down

The Providence Hospital Heart & Sole Women's Only 5 Miler race was a completely different experience this year than it was in 2010.  Last year I placed third at this race in a very competitive field, ran by myself the entire five miles and didn't really enjoy myself during any of those miles.  This year I tied for first with my good friend Meagan, ran with her for the entirety, and enjoyed myself the entire way, especially at the finish when we held our hands as we broke through the finish tape together.  Last year it was hot and humid; this year it was cool and dry.  Last year I had taken a couple of days off running before I did this race; this year I had been training consistently since Feb 1st. 

Obviously, things were bound to go well.  Initially, I planned on doing this race because of how well they treated me last year and also because of the nice paycheck that comes along for the top five finishers (500-400-300-200-100).  I told Meagan Nedlo of my plans this week and she tinkered with the idea of racing as well.  I thought the field would be as competitive as it was last year, but it turns out it wasn't.  After Meagan made her decision, she emailed Heather the race director and heard back within minutes.  I'm really grateful that Meagan came because she kept me company and helped me run faster this year!

Meagan and I spent the night at Elyse's beautiful, brand new apartment just outside of USC's campus.  We enjoyed catching up with her and eating frozen yogurt from their local self-serve fro-yo joint.  After dessert, we were all ready to call it a night as we had a race and Elyse had a final in the morning.  After Meagan and I crawled into bed (Elyse was kind enough to sleep on the couch for us), I figured the night would be rather uneventful and I would fall asleep immediately.  

I was wrong.  

I had a fitful night of sleep, and kept tossing and turning constantly.  I was even awake when Meagan began to cuddle with me unconsciously in her sleep.   Lo and behold she thought I was her beau Jordan.  I later found out that she realized her mistake in her grogginess and casually turned around after she rubbed my side a little bit, secretly hoping that I hadn't noticed.  Oh I noticed her tender rub on my side and even felt kind of loved.  This did not stop me from making fun of her the next morning though.

After a 7am wake up, we were off to the race.  During our strides, Meagan asked if I wanted to race this all out.  I said it just depended on if there any other women around. As we sized up our competition, we both realized there probably were not going to be any women around us, so we agreed to make it a hard tempo effort and work together.  I told her that no matter what, I wanted to run faster than I did last year here.

After a couple of girl power motivational cheers (we are women, we have power, we are great!), we were off!  The first mile came and went pretty quickly. Meagan and I didn't have another woman within 100m of us and we focused on several turns that characterized the first mile.  There were at least 8 different turns!  As we rounded through the second mile, we passed by a cheerleading squad, the Chik-Fil-A cow, and a boom box.  The cheering sections through two miles had already surpassed any cheering section at a Charlotte race. 

It was somewhere in this section that Meagan and I decided to hold hands when we crossed the finish line.  After all, Meagan had done the same with Alice Rogers last week, so why couldn't she do it again this week with me?  Better yet, we were at a women's only race, an environment that seemed perfectly fitting for a race to be won by two girl friends who worked together the entire way.  That's what I call girl power.

We rounded another turn to face the dreaded mile-long hill in the third mile of the race.  Our chatter was reduced to a couple of labored one-liners as we pushed up the hill.  At the top, we were almost to the fourth mile and I told Meagan that the hill was over.  She doubted me.  She said "Are you sure?"  Well, I wasn't, but as we rounded yet another turn, I saw the road flatten, with a slight decline.  Phew, I was right.  

The fourth mile is deceiving because there are two hills that continue to tire your legs out.  I pushed up one of the hills, realized I felt great, and noticed that I had dropped Meagan by a couple of steps.  I told her some encouraging words of wisdom and eased up a bit.  She tucked in behind me as she continued to run with me.  After we passed the mile mark, I said "una mas" and encouraged Meagan to run up alongside of me again.  She hung tough and came up alongside me again.  We were teammates helping each other out!

As we rounded the final turn into the finish, we were propelled forward on the down hill by gravitational forces out of our control.  Meagan even told me to be careful because the hill was so steep.  We devised our plan to hold hands on the count of 3 through the finish line.  We did it perfectly.  I assumed we would smile real big, and the result was that I look like I'm winning the Olympic Trials and that Meagan is just like, "Ah , whatever..I already did this last week.  No biggie."

After we finished, 8 different people asked to take our pictures.  We received a rose for our efforts.  The pictures below were stolen from Strictly Running, but I did place an order to buy all 3 of these.  They will be coming in 3 weeks, so technically I'm covered.  The third place girl was almost 4 minutes behind us, and we waited to congratulate her on her accomplishment before we made our way to the post-race expo to enjoy chocolate covered strawberries and a free massage.  I was the stupid girl who spilled gatorade all over 8 different strawberries, which forced me to take all of them.  I guess it worked out in the end because we got more than just one strawberry to eat.

After our massages, somehow Meagan and I managed to lose each other for 45 minutes and to not reconnect until 2 minutes before the awards ceremony.  The best part about the awards is that they announced Meagan and I as the "winners" of the race, so we approached the podium together.  The race director even told us that it was too hard to pick the winner and we reassured her that we were splitting our earnings any way so it didn't matter.  We told them we would be back the next year, and with even more Charlotte women!  We thanked the elite coordinator and the race director before making our way back to Charlotte feeling empowered, elated, and proud to be a woman. 

Meagan and I on the count of 3

Meagan and I tear through the finish line tape

Meagan and I in the finish corral with our roses

4 comments:

Allen said...

Ah, the ol' "I thought you were Jordan" trick. If I had a nickel for every time some girl pulled that one on me. ;)

lucy kate said...

the simultaneously funniest/sweetest/creepiest line in all this is "Oh I noticed her tender rub on my side and even felt kind of loved."

congratulations to both of you (on the race, not the accidental cuddling)!!

E-Speed said...

You guys have an awesome thing going on down there in Charlotte. It is inspiring to see such competitive women working together to achieve their goals. Love the photo finish here!

Kyleeeliz said...

Great post! You continue to inspire me everyday, Caitlin. You really know how to be a great teammate, ambassador for the sport, and friend. Keep up the awesome work! :0)

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